Germany History – From Schröder to Merkel

Germany History - From Schröder to Merkel

After 16 years of Christian Democrat rule, the SPD won the elections at the 1998 politics, bringing as candidate for the chancellery Germany Schröder, who formed a coalition government in which the Green party led by J. Fischer joined for the first time. The presence of the SPD on the political scene of the country was strengthened in 1999 by the election of the Social Democrat J. Rau to the presidency of the Republic.

At the end of 1999, the CDU, for its part, had been hit by a scandal linked to the financing of parties that had directly involved Kohl. Compromised in turn, party president W. Schäuble also resigned from office and Angela Merkel (2000) was elected in her place. The 2002 elections saw the confirmation of the majority in government, but there was also the resumption of the CDU-CSU alliance. The election of H. Köhler to the post of federal president(2004), a Christian Democrat, was another sign of the renewed strength of the two parties. The action taken by Schröder to revive the economy (reduction of welfare spending and increasing flexibility in the labor market) led to a crisis within the SPD, which ended (2005) with the birth of a new formation on his left, the Party of Labor and Social Justice (WASG). On the other hand, Schröder obtained important internal support with the decision to oppose the US intervention in Iraq.

Following the result of substantial parity between the left and right poles in the early elections of 2005, the office of chancellor was entrusted to A. Merkel, the first woman to lead the federal government in the country’s history. The situation of equilibrium imposed the government formula of the ‘grand coalition’ between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, with a government agreement based on the compromise between the need to continue the modernization efforts and the relaunch of the economy on the one hand, and the maximum possible preservation of the welfare state on the other. In 2009, after the economic crisis had imposed unpopular fiscal measures and massive cuts in public spending, the elections led to the launch of a new government coalition, in which the liberals took the place of the clearly defeated Social Democrats. In June 2010, following the resignation of Köhler – who had been reconfirmed in the previous year -, following a series of controversial statements about the German military mission in Afghanistan, C. Wulff was elected to the presidency of the Federal Republic of Germany, who resigned in February 2012 following his involvement in a private credit scandal. In March 2012, the federal assembly appointed J. Gauck as new president, who obtained a very large majority (911 votes out of 1240) in the first vote.

having registered an increase of about 9% compared to the consultations of 2009), winning 311 seats and touching the threshold of 316 which would have allowed it to reach an absolute majority, while the liberals were not able to exceed the threshold of 5% necessary to have representation in Parliament. First chancellor in the history of Germany and second female politician in Europe after M. Thatcher, Merkel was reconfirmed for a third term; in the following December, through a referendum, the SPD base approved by a large majority (76% of the votes) the new agreement for a Grand Coalition, also composed of CDU and CSU. A downsizing of consensus in favor of the CDU was highlighted by the regional elections held in March 2016 in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt, in a European political framework tried by very severe tensions within the Union regarding the solutions to be adopted in relation to migrants from Middle Eastern countries: penalized by immigration policies that are open to welcoming albeit rigorous, Merkel has registered a significant loss of consensus, while the ultra-right populist party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) joined the three regional parliaments in which it voted, obtaining 24% of the votes in Saxony-Anhalt. The federal elections held in September, while assigning a fourth mandate to Merkel, profoundly changed the political framework of the country, registering a clear decline in support for the CDU (32.9%), a collapse of the socialists (20.4 %) and the worrying affirmation of the ultra-right (13.2%), represented by AfD, which established itself as the country’s third force by entering Parliament for the first time since the war. In the following November, two months after the consultations, a worrying phase of instability opened following the refusal of the SPD to join the formation of an executive of broad agreements, the “Jamaica coalition” made up of Greens, Liberals and the CDU-CSU of Merkel, and only in January of the following year was a general agreement reached for the continuation of the negotiations between the two political formations; reached in February and approved the following month by members of the SPD with 66% of the votes, the agreement provides for Merkel’s renunciation of departments such as those of Foreign Affairs – entrusted to Schulz, who however renounced it – and Finance. In the regional elections held in Bavaria in October 2018, considered the test of the Grand coalition between CDU / CSU and SPD and of Merkel’s leadership, the CSU – while remaining the first party – reported a historic defeat, obtaining the 37, 2% of the votes (-10% compared to 2013), also witnessing the downsizing of the SPD, which with 9.7% of the votes saw its consent halved; clear affirmation of the Greens (17.5%, + 10%) and AfD (10.2%), which enters the Bavarian Parliament; similar results of the consultations in Hesse, where compared to the 2013 elections the CDU fell from 38.3 to 27%, the SPD from 30.7 to 19.8%, while the Greens went from 11.1% to 19.8% and the AfD received 13.1% of the votes. A. Kramp-Karrenbauer. The European elections held in May 2019 confirmed the CDU as the country’s top political force (28.7%), albeit down compared to the 2017 policies and the 2014 European elections, while the Social Democrats dropped to 15.6%, followed by by AfD sovereigns (10.8%, down compared to the 2017 policies); the statement of the Greens, which exceeded 20%, doubling the consensus compared to the 2014 Europeans, is significant.

From 1 July to 31 December 2020, Germany assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The succession to the Merkel government marked by the federal elections of September 2021 has outlined an uncertain picture, with the SPD reaching the relative majority (25.7%), the Chancellor’s CDU-CSU obtaining the worst result ever (24, 1%) and the Greens who doubled the consensus (14.8%), while reporting a worse result than expected. and the green environmentalists have established themselves as the third party in the country (14.8%). In November, the three parties reached an agreement for the new executive, headed by Scholz, with a political agenda focused on combating climate change and on ecological transition.

Germany History - From Schröder to Merkel